New York City mayor Eric Adams has declared a state of emergency over the strain on the city’s resources caused by the recent influx of immigrants.
Adams said in a speech at City Hall that the city was preparing to spend $1 billion on its response and called for federal and state funding to help pay for housing and services for the busloads of migrants who have strained the city’s homeless shelter system.
“A city recovering from an ongoing global pandemic is being overwhelmed by a humanitarian crisis made by human hands,” he said. “We are at the edge of the precipice. … We need help. And we need it now.”
He said that the city has been overwhelmed by the roughly 17,000 migrants who have arrived since April and that he expected as many as 100,000 to arrive eventually. At least nine more buses arrived on Thursday.
Adams, a Democrat, said the new arrivals are welcome in the city. And he spoke with pride of New York City’s history as a landing spot for new immigrants.
“New Yorkers have always looked out for our immigrant brothers and sisters. We see ourselves in them. We see our ancestors in them,” he said.
But, he said, “though our compassion is limitless, our resources are not.”
One out of five beds in New York City’s homeless shelter system is now occupied by a migrant, and the sudden influx has swelled its population to record levels.
The city had set up 42 emergency shelters and enrolled 5,000 children in schools, the mayor said. But he said the city urgently needed more help to provide services to migrants.
He called for state and federal financial aid, federal legislation that would allow asylum seekers to legally work sooner, and federal plans to fairly distribute asylum seekers throughout the country “to ensure everyone is doing their part.”
Adams said he had spoken to President Joe Biden recently about the crisis and that Biden and New York governor Kathy Hochul understood the challenges that the city is facing.
Adams has also criticized Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas for failing to coordinate migrant arrivals with his administration and called on him on Friday to quit sending buses to New York and to spread the burden to other cities.
“New Yorkers are angry,” Mr. Adams said. “I am angry too. We have not asked for this.”